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I should come clean to you about something this morning.

Something Alan has known for a long time I am a country music fan. So much so that often there is a song in my head that corresponds with a particular Gospel story. Today the song is Something Worth Leaving Behind. Lee Ann Womack, 2002. In the video, Womack sits in a busy train station people are rushing around doing work, isolated. Not paying attention to each other. In the song Lee Ann sings about some famous folks Mozart, Midas, and Elvis to name a few. Then she says I may not go down in history, I just want someone to remember me. Ill probably never hold the brush that paints a masterpiece. Ill probably never find a pen that writes a symphony. But if I will love then I will find, that I have touched another life and thats something worth leaving behind. Im reminded of this song because of all of the things that this Soul we heard about left behind. Unintentionally. Andhow useless and vain that process was. In our story, the Soul was too concerned about storing things up to consider anything elsethus not leaving anything particularly worthwhile behind.

In this parable, our Soul is very pleased to have stored up so many things. But Jesus warns us today to be on our guard against all kinds of greed. What we store up what we keep for ourselves may or may not be the same as this Soul. But whatever it is Jesus says to us today in this story enough is enough. Do my work not your own. And we can see another important theme that of our relationship to God. In this story, we can see that the security that this Soul finds in food and things stored up is completely false. It doesnt matter how careful weve been or how much we have. It is still God who is in control. Its dangerous for any of us to trick ourselves into believing that we are in control. Even our psalm reminds us of the danger of putting our trust in things. And we can see why, cant we? Our Soul as I will continue to call this person learns in the end that life is completely dependent on God. Not only had our Soul forgotten that forgotten that we are Gods own

Our Soul has forgotten, too, something else thats very important to our lives here on earth. Perhaps the most tragic part of the story is that this Soul appears to be alone. Not only does this Soul seem to have forgotten God it seems also to have forgotten how important it is to share life together to serve God together. There is no one else to speak of in this parable no one we see who is there to share in Gods abundance. Perhaps no one that the Soul loves. The problems we see our Soul facing theyre problems of isolation and control problems of denialan inability to see things as they really are. Its a vicious circle, really. We can see I hope that in reality, this Soul is blessed. And in other places in scripture, we see that abundant harvests like this are blessings from God. It is a gift to harvest and reap so much from the earth. But instead of honoring this gift, the Soul decides to store it up Except it isnt really the storing thats a problem. Planning and storing is something we see elsewhere in scripture as a good thingfor example Think about Joseph storing up grain and food for Pharaoh before 7 years of famine. The difference, though, is clear, isnt it?

Joseph reaps a bountiful harvest and stores it away to feed himself but also to feed others. Many others. Joseph uses and honors the gifts God gave him. He even shows mercy to foreigners who come seeking food people he had not intended to feed at the outset. Joseph has a sense of what it means to share Gods gifts with others. To make good use of what God has given us. This Soul not so much. Instead of seeing the harvest as a gift from God our Soul sees the excess as a problem. Probably the barns that were standing worked just fine. Probably theyd have held more than enough for the Soul to be fed and well taken care of even with some to spare. And yet to hold more they had to be destroyed. Resources and labor disregarded, blessings ignored. Instead of seeing a blessing of abundance our Soul sees a problem. destroys the barns, in order to build bigger ones. In order to keep more. With no intention of sharing or investing in Gods kingdom only to live the good life. Somewhere along the way, the Soul missed the point The good life isnt about what weve stored up. Gods abundance is not about possessions or things

Gods abundance is about who we are and how we live. Its the freedom God has given us the knowledge that we are loved for just who we arethe knowledge that we are forgiven. And we experience Gods abundance when we share this news with others when we give our love and forgiveness. Everything that we have is a gift from God and we are intended to use it to build to the kingdom to help our neighbor and perhaps to leave something worthwhile behind. But what we leave behind its not just intended to be things money or jewelry or clocks or china. Ill give you an example. Madame Louise Stegiere died when I was about 10 years old. I knew her as my extra grandmother. She lived in a small suburb just outside of Paris she had played host-mom when my mother studied there in college. They were very close and so we went back a lot in my childhood to stay with this adopted part of my family. I dont have many things from her a wooden rabbit with big ears we used to put in the garden for Easter. A game. Sort of like Parcheesi but better. And some pictures. Concretely, thats about all I have. But she left other things behind.
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For one thing, I have great memories. She was funny. A good cook. And told hard stories of her life in Paris during the occupation. The things shed done the ways shed tried to help. You see she was a woman of faith. She loved God. And she loved people. She understood what it was to share Gods abundance. Blessings of food and resources yes. And also the gift of love. She had a gift for hospitality and like Joseph, she used her gift to help others to honor God. I smile when I remember her because this is her legacy. This is what she really left behind not things, primarily but love. I imagine that for you, too when you think of the people you love but see no longer that you smile for similar reasons. Perhaps the concrete things they left help they remind you to rememberto smile. But Im willing to bet that if its someone you love the reason you smile is because of who they were. Who they are in your memory. Not what they gave you. Because of the love you shared. This is kingdom work.

The work of love is always Gods work. Even when we dont directly see it. And thats always something worth leaving behind. Our Soul reminds us of a few tough lessons today Among them is that our very breath comes from God. And thus our security is never in what we have but in God. We should find freedom and abundance and love in this security. Our blessings are always intended to be shared and our legacy, that which we leave behind is what we should value more than what we store up for ourselves. Our legacyand our abundant lifeconsists not of possessions and security but in the opportunity to love each other in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.